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15 Free Things to Do in Amsterdam

Discovering Amsterdam’s Hidden Gems: What are the Best Free Things to Do in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It’s situated in the north at the confluence of the Amstel and Hey rivers into the North Sea. The city’s name can be literally translated as “dam on the Amstel River”.

Amsterdam is the pearl of Northern Europe, the “Venice of the North”, a city of amazing architecture, hundreds of canals, and thousands of bridges.

It fascinates and falls in love with itself at first sight, it is a place of truly free morals with the cozy atmosphere of an old European city. In Amsterdam, everyone will find something different: from going to museums and sightseeing to delicious cuisine of local restaurants and noisy parties. You can explore this amazing city of canals on a budget.

This article describes 15 free things to do in Amsterdam.

1.       Check out the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is awell-known museum in this wonderful city. It houses some of the significant works of art from Dutch history. While admission to the museum is not free for everyone, it’s free for anyone under the age of 18 and for anyone with a Museumkaart.

This is a great investment if you plan on visiting several museums in Amsterdam. With this card you can access to over 400 museums throughout the Netherlands. Also it’s worth mentioning that there is free admission to everyone on the first Sunday of every month.

Address: Museumstraat 1 – 1071 XX – Amsterdam

Official Website:

2.       Take a stroll through Vondelpark

Vondelpark is the biggest and most beloved park in Amsterdam.

You can have a great time here and enjoy the sounds of nature. Where you can a several walking and biking paths, as well as several ponds and gardens. You can have a bike ride and have a peaceful retreat.

You can grab a drink or a snack in the cafes and restaurants nearby. Also, you can find free outdoor concerts and events especially in the summer.

3.       Explore the Red Light District

The Red-Light District also known as De Wallen, is one of Amsterdam’s most controversial and intriguing neighborhoods and attractions. It’s an interesting place to explore. You can’t miss this area.

The area may not be suitable for everyone. It’s recommended to visit during the day.

The area has several historic buildings and churches, shops and cafes.

Check out the Red-Light Secrets Museum, where you can learn the history and culture of the Red Light District. Just remember photography is prohibited in this area, especially windows.

Things to Do in Amsterdam

4.       Check out the NDSM Wharf

The NDSM Wharf is a former shipyard.

It has been converted into a cultural hub for creative activities. It has a variety of art galleries, creative studios, cafes, restaurants, and other cultural attractions.

For example, the NDSM Treehouse is an eco-friendly bed and breakfast. Most interestingly it is built entirely from recycled materials.

The IJ-hallen is one of Europe’s largest flea markets.

The Pllek is a popular restaurant and bar which is made entirely from shipping containers. It’s a great place to learn about culture, art, and creativity. It also has a several outdoor events throughout the year. (official website

5.       Visit the Van Gogh Museum

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch artist. He is known as a post-Impressionist painter. He is a famous and influential artist in history of art. The Van Gogh Museum is another legendary museum in the country that you won’t miss. It hosts a huge collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world.

For example, you can see the most famous works “Sunflowers”, “The Potato Eaters”, and “Almond Blossom” here. Admissions may apply. However, you can visit this unique museum without spending a dime on the first Sunday of every month.

Also, it does have free admission on some other occasions, for instance on his birthday (30 March). (official website

6.       Take a free walking tour

Amsterdam is a small city. You can easily explore it on foot or bike. Don’t miss this opportunity! You can find a several companies that offer free walking tours and this is a great way to get to know the city.

In this tour knowledgeable guides can give you insight about city’s history and culture. While the tours are technically free, it’s customary and recommended to tip your guide at the end.

Some popular free walking tours in Amsterdam include the Sandemans New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour and the FreeDam Tours Amsterdam Walking Tour.

7.       Visit the Bloemenmarkt

The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market which is a great and amazing place to explore. As we already know that The Netherlands is a country of flowers. Because of its long, interesting, and rich history of cultivating and exporting flowers.

In this market you can have a great place to experience the vivid colors and fragrances of the country’s well-known flowers.

You can enjoy the sights and smells of the market without spending a dime. You can buy also some souvenirs and enjoy in cafes. The perfect location to have selfies or photos.

8.       Check out the Waterlooplein Flea Market

The Waterlooplein Flea Market is one of the largest and unique flea markets in Amsterdam it’s a great place to hunt for vintage treasures.

While you may need to spend some money if you find something you love, something rare or something vintage while browsing the market is free.

The market is open every day except Sunday we think it’s a great place to find unique and extraordinary souvenirs.

Free Things to Do in Amsterdam

9.       Walk along the canals

Amsterdam is famous for its many canals.

They are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You can have a walk in the walking paths which are free to use for sure near to water.

There are some free popular canal-sidewalks including the Brouwersgracht Canal and the Prinsengracht Canal.

You can take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike and explore the city at your own pace.

It’s especially perfect during the summertime.

10.   Visit the Begijnhof

This hidden courtyard is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Begijnhof is a popular destination.

You can go through the serene garden in the center of the courtyard, admire and explore the historic architecture. And learn about the rich history and culture of this unique community.

It’s a great place with a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. The courtyard is surrounded by historic buildings. For instance, the Begijnhof Chapel which dates back to the 15th century. It’s open to the public. The chapel has magnificent stained-glass windows and an impressive collection of religious artifacts.

11.   See the Windmills at the Zaanse Schans

The windmills at the Zaanse Schans are an open-air museum and well-preserved place in the Netherlands. They were built in the 17-18th centuries. It’s located just outside the city of the city. They were used for a different purposes, for example, sawing wood, grinding flour, extracting oil from seeds. Nowadays many of the windmills have been restored. They are open to the public for tours. Take a free ferry from Amsterdam Central Station to the Zaanse Schans and see the iconic windmills.

12.   Visit the Free Lunchtime Concerts at the Concertgebouw

The Concertgebouw is a world-famous concert hall in Amsterdam. It’s well known for its remarkable acoustics. It has hosted many famous musicians and orchestras. It has free lunchtime concerts every Wednesday.

Check the schedule and enjoy a free concert by world-renowned musicians. You can visit the official website to find more info It’s a true gem of the city.

13.   Admire the architecture of Amsterdam Central Station, a historic landmark.

Amsterdam Central Station is an impressive building in this majestic city. It was built in the late 19th C. It’s a prime example of Dutch Neo-Renaissance architecture.

A notable and exclusive feature of Amsterdam Central Station is its location on the water. It’s a popular destination for boat tours and cruises. You can find some shops, restaurants and other amenities nearby.

Amsterdam Central Station is a major transportation hub. Its phenomenal architecture, convenient location and historic significance make it a must-visit destination.

14.   Explore the free exhibitions at the Stadsarchief Amsterdam,

If you’re interested in exploring the rich history of Amsterdam, you can visit the Stadsarchief Amsterdam.

The Stadsarchief is the official city archive of Amsterdam. It offers many free exhibitions and events, where you can learn cultural heritage of the city. Make sure to check the exhibition schedule during your visit. It has different type of exhibitions throughout the year.

For example, ranging from art and photography to historical artifacts and documents. You can also take free guided tours that are offered by the Stadsarchief.

15.   Visit the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam.

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA) is the largest public library in Amsterdam. It’s located in the Oosterdokseiland area. The library has over 10 floors. It has an enormous collection of books, music and films.

You can also see many workstations and study areas. Also, a restaurant with a terrace on the seventh floor. Admission is free to the library. If you’re not a member of the library, don’t worry, you can sign up for a temporary library card at the reception desk.

It’s located on the ground floor. It will allow you to borrow materials from the library’s collection. Then you can go to the nearest park to read your favorite books.

15 Free Things to Do in Amsterdam
Photo by Łukasz Siwy – Pixabay

Amsterdam offers many different free activities that won’t break the bank. We want to mention here that some museums in this amazing city have free admission for specific groups of people, such as children, students, or museum card holders regardless of the day. You can check the museum’s website or contact them directly to confirm their admission policies. There is a lot to do in Amsterdam, for example exploring the canals and parks to check out the street art and markets. So, grab a bike, put on your walking shoes, and start exploring this beautiful and incredible city!